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Remembering Dear Ol' Dad
With Father's Day fast approaching, we've taken the opportunity to delve into several new books that examine the bond between fathers and children. Whether you're interested in a gift for Dad or a chance to ponder the importance of a father's role, these four selections offer meaningful ways to mark the occasion.
Keeping his priorities straight
Offer dad a little love and encouragement with My List: 24 Reflections on Life's Priorities (McGraw-Hill, $14.95, 80 pages, ISBN 0071422226), an inspiring book that will get him to focus on the important things in life. Based on the hit country single written by Nashville tunesmiths Rand Bishop and Tim James, the book will help readers put the song's powerful message into play. With a foreword by singer Toby Keith, who made the single a chart-topper, the book advises readers to setand achievesimple goals that can make life more fulfilling, including going for a walk, playing catch with the kids and sleeping late. It's a rewarding little read, filled with sparkling photos, Bible verses and memorable quotes, that's just right for stressed-out dads. And the enclosed CD of the single will keep him humming.
Doing his fatherly duty
A father follows his son into the world of scouting in Scout's Honor: A Father's Unlikely Foray into the Woods (Harcourt, $24, 368 pages, ISBN 0151005923). Author Peter Applebome was never a Boy Scout himself, so he was surprised (and a bit dubious) when his son Ben decided to join Troop 1 of Chappaqua Falls in upstate New York. As he learns to camp and canoe along with the boys, he discovers the rewards of the great outdoors and a deeper connection with his son. Applebome comes to appreciate his son's decision to join the troop, chronicling his journey from skeptic to Scout with humor, ease and honesty. Scout's Honor will be enjoyed by anyone with an interest in the outdoors and the crucial, ever-evolving father-son bond.
Adopted fathers ease a boy's painful loss
Moved by reading about the victims of 9/11, many of whom left behind families with young children, writer Kevin Sweeney was prompted to recall his own experience of losing his father when he was three years old. The resulting memoir, Father Figures (Regan, $22.95, pages, ISBN 0060511923), is both a nostalgic recollection of growing up during the 1960s in a large Irish-Catholic family and a perceptive exploration of grief's long-term toll. Comforted by friends, neighbors and teachers and mentored by a stoic older brother, the young Sweeney bravely soldiers on after his father's death. At the age of eight, he decides to "adopt" three adult men to serve as his role models and guides to manhood. Each man unknowingly lends valuable assistance to the boy on his sometimes painful journey through childhood and adolescence. Poignant without being maudlin, Sweeney's story beautifully conveys the significance of a father's role and offers hope that even the most profound of life's tragedies can be endured and overcome.
Death opens a door
It's never too late to repair your relationship with your father (or child). That's the message of Barry Neil Kaufman's inspiring memoir, No Regrets: Last Chance for a Father and Son. Kaufman was a successful author, counselor and father when he received a call from his own 83-year-old father, who had just been diagnosed with lymphatic cancer. Despite a long-standing rift between the two, the father's illness is greeted by Kaufman as an opportunity for reconnecting with his parent. "Even if he never knew or understood me, I could, at least, come to know him if I opened my heart," Kaufman writes. The two eventually put their difficult relationship behind and forge new bonds that comfort both the ailing father and his determined son.